I’ve wanted to go abroad for a long time. Unfortunately, it was not possible to go abroad during my school and bachelor’s time. So I definitely wanted to do my Masters abroad.
While doing research on the Internet, I found out about MicroEDU and got personal advice there. It was great to be able to fall back on the experiences of the employees there. Together we shortlisted three universities in Great Britain.
Loaded with a pile of information material and dozens of Internet addresses, I first drove home and read myself. In the end I decided to go to Robert Gordon University. And even if it wasn’t my first choice, I haven’t regretted this decision.
My criteria were very diverse and I also consulted various national rankings (such as the Guardian). There were also some other criteria that were more practical in nature: Scotland has comparatively very low tuition fees and offers a practical loan system for European students.
After my decision was made, MicroEDU helped me with the application and checked everything again for possible errors, etc. The application itself could be uploaded online on the website of RGU (benötgt be eg a transcript of records, two letters of reference and a letter of motivation). The application form was mostly self-explanatory. MicroEDU was always on hand to answer any questions.
After that it happened relatively quickly. Within a few weeks I had my “conditional offer”. Assuming that I would pass my bachelor’s degree (and submit all the necessary documents later), nothing would stand in the way of the “unconditional offer”.
Fortunately, many more language tests have gone through my English bilingual Abitur and a Cambridge certificate, which I successfully completed a few years ago. In general, however, like all British universities, the RGU requires the IELTS. So you are definitely on the safe side. If you have already taken another language test, it is still worthwhile to simply ask whether you are still accepted.
After the final acceptance by the RGU in November 2015, I took care of an accommodation. The purpose RGU provides a “Accommodation Service” on their website at. If you don’t want to be on the safe side, you can organize yourself privately. This is often the cheaper option, as dormitory spaces (like renting in Aberdeen in general) are relatively expensive. Despite very cheap tuition fees, Aberdeen is second only to London in terms of cost of living in Great Britain.
Since I was unsure whether I could organize an apartment myself, I relied on the help of the RGU at the time. Here, too, the online application went smoothly and in December 2015 I was sure of my place.
All in all, I would recommend everyone to find private accommodation. This is usually much cheaper than the university dormitories. Very spontaneous people can also wait for the notices at the university. Rooms, shared accommodation or apartments for students are constantly being offered here.
Aberdeen in itself is not exactly one of the most beautiful cities in Great Britain and Scotland. As the “oil and gas capital of Europe”, it is also more of an industrial city than a tourist stronghold.
The “granite city” is nevertheless a liveable city with many possibilities. The connections are great: by bus, train, car or ferry you can get to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness or the Shetland and Orkney Islands within a few hours. There is also its own airport, which offers a direct connection to Frankfurt am Main. You can get to other German airports via London, Amsterdam, Paris or Stockholm.
There is also a lot to see in the vicinity of Aberdeen. There is the “castle trail” with many beautiful castles and palaces. Stonehaven, with Dunnottar Castle, is just under 30 minutes away and is definitely one of the highlights of Scotland. Other destinations include the Cairngorms National Park, the summer residence of Queen Balmoral Castle or the Highland Games.
But Aberdeen itself also has a lot to offer. There are four different shopping malls that offer a huge selection, cinemas, cafes, restaurants and of course numerous pubs. The Aberdeen Maritime Museum, right by the harbor, tells a little bit about the history of Aberdeen and the local oil and gas production. When the sun shines, the beach, the Dee and Don rivers and numerous parks beckon. And anyone who thinks that it rains most of the time in Scotland is really wrong. Even if the temperatures rarely rise above 16-17 ° C (exceptions definitely exist in the summer months), there are significantly more sunny days than one generally expects. Exam preparation on the beach or in the park with blue skies and sunshine is definitely possible.
The RGU offers both a September and a January start for most courses. Those who start in January start with the official 2nd semester and then make up for the 1st semester after the summer vacation in September. However, since the modules are not based on one another, this is not a problem.
My MSC International Tourism and Hospitality Management course was relatively small. I started with four others in January. In addition there were four more people from the September semester. This enabled us to work very effectively and had a great relationship with each other. However, some of the modules (there are four modules per semester) are taught together with other courses, so we were significantly more students again.
The mix in my course was very balanced: 50% actually came from Aberdeen, the rest were split between the EU. In other courses, however, the proportion of Asian or African students is sometimes higher, which leads to a great intercultural mix on campus.
The language is generally not a big problem. Whereby you definitely have to say that Scottish has absolutely nothing to do with the school English that you are otherwise used to. Therefore, it can be a bit difficult to understand everything, especially at the beginning. But that usually happens relatively quickly. And meanwhile I have really taken the Scots into my heart with their language!
The “courseworks” should be formulated correctly in terms of language, as scientific work at the RGU is taken very seriously. By and large, however, the content is more important than the mere grammar.
In terms of grades, the whole thing is stricter in Great Britain than in Germany. From 70% you get an A and thus the best grade. However, it is next to impossible to actually get more than that 70%. At the same time, it is just as difficult to fail with an E. So you don’t have to worry too much about that now. In general, the grades of the foreign students were very good and there were hardly any problems.
The RGU itself supports its students wherever it can. There are “wellbeing counselors” who are solely concerned with psychological well-being, the “Student Help Point”, where you can go with any questions, or even application support. And if you are unsure about your “assignments”, you can have it checked for linguistic errors.
Anyone who wants to get involved outside of the classroom has the opportunity to become part of one of the many “societies”. From volleyball and badminton to photography to gaming or Harry Potter. There is something for everyone here. And if you haven’t found the right one, you can simply found your own group and will be supported by the “RGU Union”.
Overall, I found the “workload” feasible. With four modules per semester, I only had lectures 3 days a week. The semester at the RGU lasts 12 weeks plus the exam phase, in which, however, there are no more lessons. All in all, it was okay. In addition to preparing for the lesson (there are “tutorials” for which pages of articles usually have to be read and worked on), one shouldn’t forget the “courseworks”. In my course, all lecturers have opted for “courseworks” instead of exams. Within 16 weeks I had to hand in seven “courseworks” of different lengths. That was generally easy to do, even if it was a bit stressful at some point. But you shouldn’t postpone this until the last few days, otherwise there may well be written nights.
I can’t say exactly how it compares to a German university. My bachelor’s degree was much more relaxed (despite dual studies!). But that could also be due to the difference between a Bachelor and a Master.
My conclusion: Anyone interested in studying abroad is in very good hands at the RGU. This should continue to be the case despite Brexit and possible thoughts of secession from Scotland. So take courage!